Sunday, January 31, 2010


A skater asked me to make some toe guards for her that have flames on them. I dug around in my leather stash, and I found some little pieces of red, orange and yellow lizard hide. She sent an image to me showing the style of flames she wanted. I drew them out on the leather:

Then I cut them out and glued them on to the toe guards (and this is where I forgot to take pictures!). Here is the final result:

I am pleased with the outcome, and it was certainly one of my more challenging assignments!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Derby Vixen Sweatshop

Sometimes, when I am on a roll, I can crank out a bunch of toe guards at once. Usually, though, I get distracted, and I jump from one thing to the next. And, believe me, it could be anything. But, here I am on a roll:

These are all cut out and getting glued:

I nearly lost my mind from the glue fumes. It was worth it though, to see all those toe guards lined up!

Here is another day. Not so many toe guards, but I like all the colors:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Special Orders Don't Upset [Me]

Probably the most fun thing about making these toe guards is the special requests I get. The most ubiquitous symbol of roller derby is the star, and the second is the stripe (for the pivot's helmet). I have made plenty of those in many colors, but the thing about derby is that a girl really gets to express herself in a way that is different from her everyday life. She gets to pick a name that reflects who she is (something tough, maybe sexy, maybe feminine--- for a list of the names of members of the international Women's Flat Track Derby Association, go to It's very entertaining), and, naturally, she'll want some toe guards that go with that name.
Here are some of the special requests I have made:

For Panama Crack:

Not too long after that was posted, a skater asked for a German flag:

A friend suggested I make all the flags that there are, but since there are 196 countries in the world, I will wait until I am asked for each one.

Another skater wanted her initials:

But these were even more fun to make:

Some pink kitty paw prints:

Continuing on with the kitty cat theme... these are made with a Cheetah printed leather:

A skater on my team, Witch Wade Shego, asked for a yellow crescent moon:

This one was fun to make:

I especially liked making these, although the halo was a little tricky. Both the red and silver are from alligator leather:

This one took quite some time with the X-acto knife:

And, lastly, a Fleur de Lis:

I haven't been able to make everything that was asked, but I like to try.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Evolution of the Toe Guard

I started making toe guards for roller skates about a year ago. When I began skating with the Charlottesville Derby Dames, I almost immediately noticed that my new skates were suffering from some serious abuse. Until we located our current practice space, we were skating a couple of times a week at the local skate park. Needless to say, a couple of falls on asphalt did some pretty nasty damage to my skates.

I constructed a set of toe guards from leather, and they did the job of protecting my skates perfectly! Here are some of my older creations:

I have since made many improvements, and, at the same time, I think my sewing skills have become more polished. Here is a small sample of some toe guards I have recently made:

I am selling these in my etsy shop, and I have had quite a bit of success. Tool on over there if you could use a pair to protect your skates!